In 2020, CDC data show that U.S. birthrates declined by 4%, to the lowest rate since 1979. The steepest decline was 7% in December, the first month that babies would have been born after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S.
The fertility rate also dropped 4% in 2020 to the lowest rate ever, and at 1,637.5 births per 1000 women, is far below the 2.1% fertility rate needed to maintain population “replacement levels.”
While that December 2020 birthrate drop may be a case of correlation, not causation, the lower number of births conforms with predictions by Brookings that U.S. births might fall by 300,000 in a year due to the pandemic.
Coupled with the 2020 decennial Census data showing the second-slowest U.S. population growth rate in a decade since the Census began in 1790, it’s clear that if the U.S. is to have a robust workforce to meet the country’s economic needs as more Baby Boomers retire, the U.S. urgently needs to grow its immigrant population.
Congress must act this year to update the nation’s immigration laws to open to tap and allow immigrants already here to legalize, and to speed up and expand immediate yfamily and employment based immigration.